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While I was reading about new Vancouver start-ups today, I stumbled upon a business venture called Share Shed that was launched just in February 1st, 2015 by Daniel Dubois – a 23 year old Capilano University fresh graduate. As someone who is interested in the outdoors, the start-up’s tagline right away caught my attention: the airbnb for outdoor gears. Following Share Shed from article to article, I found out more and more about the intriguing Collaborative Consumption concept that inspired Dubois to launch this business venture.

Collaborative Consumption is a worldwide movement that empowers collaboration within community, advances resource allocation, and potentially could shape our economy into one with sharing practices. Businesses I can name a few that are based on this concept are Craigslist, AirBnB, Couchsurfing, Modo Car, Car2Go.

sharing-logos

In her TedTalk about the Collaborative Consumption, Rachel Botsman gave an example to point out the obvious problem with material possession: an average power drill which is bought by someone is used for just about 20 minutes in its entire lifespan. “And the irony is what you need is the hole not the drill isn’t it”, Botsman jokes. In her book What’s Mine is Yours: How Collaborative Consumption is Changing the Way We Live that I’m excited to read (which I will borrow from the library instead of buying a copy), she wrote about the three systems of Collaborative Consumption: product service systems (example: Car2Go), redistribution markets (example: Craigslist), and collaborative lifestyles (example: Share Shed).  These are golden opportunities that many global brands, start-ups, and public services can take on to innovate and make great impact to the world.

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Botsman mentioned that the foundation of these systems is trust, which is already secured by online reviews from community members (example: Couch Surfing). Despite all of the economical, social, and environmental benefits of Collaborative Consumption, there are flaws arisen. AirBnB was upsetting many residences by letting strangers entering their buildings, and Uber was causing safety issue when anyone can be a driver in the system.

What are your thoughts on the sharing economy? Please share by commenting!

References:
Share Shed
TedTalk from Rachel Botsman: the Case for Collaborative Consumption
Article – Share Shed: the Answer to Vancouver’s Anti Social Tendencies
Book – What’s Mine is Yours: How Collaborative Consumption is Changing 
Article – The Rise of the Sharing Economy

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3 Comments

  1. Hi Ly,

    I think that the sharing community is a great idea for some products but ultimately comes down to the idea of convenience and trust. We’ve learned that people will be sustainable only if it is easy and for many sharing services people will not like the hassle of, for example, not having their own car. Although redistribution markets is a great way of making sure that the product life cycle is lengthened, many affluent consumers do not want to purchase used products. How can we shift the way of thinking of redistribution so that it is viewed positively?

  2. Hey Kristen! Great question. Since some people have higher material possession than others, building communities and encouraging sharing behaviours within them would be the first step. I think right now having more collaboration platforms such as AirBnB would be a safer space for people to share their stuff, since you can have profiles and ratings of the users, that helps with the trusting issue. There was this research conducted in Vancouver called “the Sharing Project”, where they found that the items that people would be willing to share vary, depending on factors such as whether you lend or borrow, or whether it’s between you and your peers or strangers.

  3. Hi Ly, this was a very interesting read! I read it way back in February, loved the idea of an Airbnb for equipment, and then have had an ongoing battle to determine my true thoughts on this so called “sharing” economy ever since. You may find my blog, “Are We Really Sharing?” interesting as it discusses some of my qualms with the concept. I won’t get into details, but I did really enjoy your post! Despite my obvious hesitations, I love the term “collaborative consumption”. It makes my mind wander into the possibility of a time-share-like system for commodity goods. One of my major hesitations with the current “sharing” models is that they are being used as a way for people to turn their idle goods into a profit-generating item, which really is not sharing at all. Yet, “collaborative consumption” sounds like to me, a group of individuals splitting the cost of a single item on the basis of their respective usage rates, grossly cutting down on consumption, ensuring that no one pays more than they need to, and cutting out the potential for one to gain a profit at the expense of another. Just some thoughts! But thanks again, and great post, Ly.

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